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Role-Play: Tolerance of Intolerance is Cowardice

A problem is presented to a class:

People from different countries work in a factory which produces electronic games. There are 20 Muslim workers out of 50. It is the time of Ramadan. The Muslim workers ask for special conditions of work in that period such as different timetables to go to the canteen and to have fewer duties during the hours of light.

A discussion begins between the Muslims and the other colleagues, because no one accepts the other group`s point of view. The           company manager tries to mediate calling to a meeting.


The meeting starts. The class is split up into 3 groups. One group represents the Muslims, one the workers and the last one the company manager.

The company manager: Good afternoon everybody! Here we are because there is a problem and we have to find a solution in order to cooperate and to achieve the best result.

Discussion is the best way to achieve a compromise so each group is going to explain its needs. Can the Muslim start?


After the Muslim group has discussed and recorded their reasons, one of them reports how they feel.

Muslim representative: We think our request is legitimate as religion is an important value for us and so we should have the chance to practice it fully. We live in a Western country and as we respect your festivities like Christmas or Easter, we only ask for special conditions for the time of Ramadan.


Some of the others are angry while others are more understanding.

Other ones` representative [shouting as he is angry]: Really?! Your work contract doesn´t allow you to have these conditions! You have come to our country and you have to follow our rules. Your request is just a way to work less and earn the same.


An angry Muslim answers

Angry Muslim: You don´t understand our situation because religion doesn´t exist anymore in your lives. You can´t decide for us, you have to respect our religious practices!

Imagine that you are going to work in a Muslim country. Would you be willing to bear a violation of your religious rights?


Understanding worker: I can understand your point of view, but you have to do the same with us. We work hard to achieve our goals and support our families. So do you think it is correct for us to work harder than you do? Maybe you should try to follow our habits in order to live in a western way

Understanding Muslim: I think you are right, but we will not work less, we are only asking for a different timetable as regards the canteen. It is only for this period, we try to respect your religion, but we only want the same.


The company manager: Now we know everyone´s opinion, let`s find a compromise! I will give you some options:

A) Change the timetables in favor of Muslim workers´ needs. They work less and they recover their duties in the following month

B) Not change the timetables, so the situation remains the same.

C) Canteen hours don´t change but they can take the food from their home and eat it whenever they like.

D) Canteen hours don´t change but the factory gives the Muslim workers a coupon for their lunch

E) They are only paid for what they produce during the day

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